updated 08:10 am EST, Wed January 13, 2010
LG to leave Win Mobile a minority
LG today outlined a mobile strategy that marks a reversal of its approach from 2009. The Korean company expects to ship about 20 smartphones in 2010 but says that "more than half" of the smartphones it ships will run Android, such as the GT540 Electronista tried at CES. Only a minority will run either Windows Mobile or Linux.
Most of the early mix will focus on entry-level smartphones for newcomers but should shift to more advanced phones by the end of the year, like the Intel-based GW990. LG hopes to have its first smartphone with more than 10 million sales within 2010.
The strategy is a symbolic if not major blow to Microsoft. The latter had negotiated an alliance with LG in 2008 that saw the two collaborating on smartphones. Most of LG's smartphones in 2009 were Windows Mobile devices and only one phone, the Eve, used Google's platform. The apparent switch in preference follows temporary or permanent moves away from Windows Mobile by other companies such as HTC, Motorola, Palm and Samsung.
LG hasn't provided an explanation for its new leaning towards Android, but its low-cost or even free licensing, a finger-ready interface, and accurate web browsing all give it advantages over the Microsoft mobile OS. It also supports capacitive touch, though the Eve and GT540 both use resistive (pressure-based) touchscreens to lower their pricing.
The company has no specific estimate for its collective smartphone sales but expects its total phone sales to jump 20 percent to 140 million based partly on its new commitment to smartphone development. It created a smartphone division just last year and boosted its research staff for the category by 30 percent in the same period.